Uniting on Shared Priorities to Improve Cancer Care: ASCO and ECO Formalize Collaboration With a Memorandum of Understanding

The Two Leading Oncology Professional Organizations Will Work Together on Reducing Inequalities Globally and Sharing Research and Strategies

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ASCO and the European Cancer Organisation (ECO) are pleased to announce a new collaboration, formalized with a recently signed memorandum of understanding, that will advance their shared aims on cancer control. The two organizations will continue to work together to support the ECO-ASCO Special Network on the Impact of the War in Ukraine on Cancer, identifying and sharing information, programs, materials, and resources to help cancer care for Ukrainians. ASCO and ECO also will address cancer inequalities globally; partner on research projects; foster the careers of young oncology professionals; and explore shared evidence-based advocacy strategies.

“For years, we have been working closely together on so many projects and initiatives, and it’s exciting to formalize our collaboration,” said ASCO Chief Medical Officer Julie R. Gralow, MD, FACP, FASCO. “By combining our resources, we can do more to achieve our shared goal of improving cancer care around the world.”

The announcement came during the European Cancer Summit 2022, held November 16 and 17 in Brussels.

“This is the obvious next step for two organizations so committed to fighting cancer,” said ECO President Andreas Charalambous, PhD. “Our joint response to the crisis in Ukraine reminded us, yet again, that we are more effective when we work together—whatever the mission. We believe that formalizing this partnership will lead to better cancer care for many more people, in many more countries.”

ASCO and ECO held a joint session at the summit, “Supporting Ukrainian Cancer Patients and Cancer Services: Immediate Needs and Longer-Term Rebuilding,” co-chaired by Prof. Charalambous and ASCO President Eric P. Winer, MD, FASCO. The session focused on the ECO-ASCO Special Network: Impact of the War in Ukraine on Cancer.

“The discussion will center around what we have learned in the war so far, how we can support Ukrainian patients with cancer and health-care professionals, and rebuilding cancer services in Ukraine in the future,” said Dr. Winer. “We all want to help, and the best way to do that is by understanding as best we can what is happening and then responding accordingly, which will take time and commitment. We hope this session helps the community gain some of these insights so we may better support our Ukrainian colleagues.”

The ASCO-ECO memorandum of understanding mentions the continued partnership on this special network, whose actions will continue to adapt to changing needs and priorities during the war, including both immediate needs and longer-term planning for capacity and capability building.

The organizations also will share information and best practices to improve patient outcomes and experiences with the goal of advancing health equity to reduce cancer inequalities globally. ASCO will now have a representative in ECO’s Inequalities Network, and ECO will be involved in ASCO’s Health Equity and Outcomes Committee.

The information-sharing will extend to data and research projects, including opportunities to collaborate on the visual display of cancer-related data, particularly in the area of diversity in clinical trial participation. It also will encompass opportunities for both policy and advocacy teams to share information about evidence-based advocacy and policy issues that are relevant in Europe and the United States in support of overall EU-U.S. collaboration in cancer care.

Related to professional development, ASCO and ECO will now have joint sessions at the ASCO Annual Meeting and the European Cancer Summit. For young professionals, the organizations will focus on building the future cancer workforce. Next year, ECO is launching a new group for young cancer professionals that will leverage ASCO’s professional development opportunities for this group. 

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